Sporting the frayed jean in summer means you have to be OK with an unabashed
display of your mankles
Blue denim and I have never been friends. I associate it with the kind of
bleak Americana seen in films such as Porky’s and lunkheaded jocks who might
beat me up in a parking lot. Blue jeans stare at me from across the store floor
and say, “You don’t play enough American football to wear me, sucker!” I make an
inward squeak and head to the safety of the black jeans aisle.
In fact traditional blue jeans seem never to have quite recovered from being
worn by Jeremy Clarkson – a sartorial death sentence that saw them labelled “dad
jeans” and hastily shoved to the back of the closet. It was difficult not to
feel they would for ever be associated with the “visiting a garden centre at the
There’s a new take on the staple, though: frayed denim. Essentially jeans
that look as if you’ve taken a pair of scissors to the bottom of them, they
follow the recent trend for self-loathing in denim. Just look at the names:
distressed, stonewashed, ripped. RUOK, hun?
I’m looking forward to SS18, when “traumatised by something that happened in
1998 and keep writing about it on my Tumblr” jeans and “gently rocking back and
forth to Fiona Apple” jeans appear on the catwalk.
Although you can wear it with a clompy boot and go for the “minor member of
Depeche Mode” look (see any Vetements catwalk), sporting the frayed jean in
summer means you have to be OK with an unabashed display of your mankles to
emphasise the frayed bits (and also, I suppose, OK with saying “mankles”). But
for someone whose pedicure routine has been essentially: ignore those cloven
hooves until they turn into actual cloven hooves and you get cast in a
low-budget 70s horror flick, this is quite a leap. Life is hard enough when you
have to shave and deodorise in the morning, without having to worry about those
Saying that, I quite like the slight subversion of this good ole classic.
It’s nice to be looked up and down and asked “Did you cut them yourself?” in
mock horror by a family member. You feel exciting and punkish. And not at all
like Jeremy Clarkson.
• Priya (above) wears jeans, £55, by BDG Denim, from urbanoutfitters.com.
Shirt, £85, allsaints.com. T-shirt, £6, marksandspencer.com. Sliders, £55,
cosstores.com. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at
Carol Hayes Management
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